There are many diamond shapes, each with unique characteristics falling into one of two categories: “round” or “fancy.” Simply put, if it’s not a Round brilliant we call it “fancy shaped.”
So… Which shape is right for you? Should you go with a classic round brilliant diamond? Or would you prefer a more unique fancy shape? We’ll let you in on a little secret of the trade: all diamond shapes are gorgeous! When selecting a diamond shape, it’s all all about you! Which shape speaks to you the most? Which is the most “you?”
In this guide, we’ll discuss each shape’s definition, history, style, and popularity to help you decide if it’s “the one” for you.
There’s no wrong choice when it comes to diamond shape. Browse the shapes below and simply let your heart (or perhaps your sense of style) speak loudly.
Round brilliant diamonds are by far the most popular diamond shape. Why? Because of their sparkle. The round brilliant is cut to capture and emit as much light as possible, making it beautifully brilliant.
It’s hard to imagine the world of diamonds without the round brilliant. But this shape was invented fairly recently. In 1919, engineering student, Marcel Tolkowsky, sought to design the ideal diamond that would maximize brilliance and fire. Through mathematical calculations, he invented the 58 facet round brilliant. When you think of diamonds, you probably don’t think of math. But it is Tolkowsky’s use of mathematical precision that led to the stunning beauty of the round brilliant diamond, the world’s most popular diamond shape accounting for more than half of all diamonds today.
The modern cushion cut diamond evolved from an historic diamond shape known as the old mine cut. The cushion cut mirrors the old mine’s overall shape but boasts greatly improved fire and brilliance due to its enhanced faceting. While the old mine cut had 58 facets, the cushion cut features 64 facets.
Because they were so popular in the early 20th century, cushion cut diamonds are sometimes associated with vintage styles. The modern cushion cut’s elegant blend of old and new led to a resurgence in popularity among vintage-enthusiasts and nostalgic brides-to-be. Around five percent of all diamonds are cushion cut diamonds, making it one of the more popular fancy shapes.
Cushions also account for many of the world’s most famous diamonds, including the Hope Diamond and the Yellow Tiffany Diamond. Contributing to a rich history that is being carried on by many brides to this day.
Princess cut diamonds are the second most popular diamond shape. About fifteen percent of diamonds cut are princesses. Princess cut diamonds have a chic, contemporary look. This diamond shape, which was invented in the 1960s, has a square appearance when viewed from above and is highly brilliant.
This shape was invented after wide demand for a square diamond that was closer in brilliance to round brilliant diamonds. The cut was originally descriptive in name, “square modified brilliant.” Yea, we’re glad somebody in the marketing department changed it to, “Princess,” too!
Unlike the round brilliant, which always has 58 facets, the number of facets on a princess cut diamond may vary. The sharp facets on the pavilion of this diamond shape are called chevrons and are meant to draw the eye toward the center of the diamond.
Emerald cut diamonds are famous for the mesmerizing way they reflect light. This diamond shape is formed using step cut facets, which are rectangular facets that run in parallel lines. The pattern of these facets gives the emerald diamond its signature “hall of mirrors” effect.
The open facets and architecture of the Emerald cut diamond allow the viewer to easily peer into the center of the diamond through its table. This creates a beautiful art-deco appearance. When buying an emerald cut diamond, it’s important to consider clarity carefully, as flaws inside an emerald cut diamond can be seen more easily than their brilliant cut counterparts.
Radiant cut diamonds are shaped similarly to emerald cut diamonds, as both look like rectangles with cut corners when viewed from above. However, what makes these shapes different is the way they are faceted. While emeralds are step cut, radiant diamonds are brilliant cut, so they reflect light quite differently.
While the emerald cut diamond reflects light in “flashes,” the radiant cut produces a shimmer that’s similar to that of a round brilliant or princess cut diamond. The designer of this shape, Henry Grossbard, created the radiant cut in 1977 to combine the shape of the emerald cut diamond with the brilliance of other diamond shapes. They are a beautiful blend of classic and contemporary. Around three percent of those who buy diamonds choose this modern, glamorous shape.
Oval diamonds provide a classic, yet distinctive look. While diamonds cut into oval shapes have been in existence since the 12th century, the modern version of the oval cut was invented in the 1960s by Lazare Kaplan. Kaplan, a Russian-born diamond cutter, created what would become the new standard for oval diamonds.
Oval diamonds are elegant, with an elongated look that many find slimming on the hand. They also have a size advantage: oval diamonds have much of their overall weight on the table (their top), which means they look larger in dimension per carat than a round brilliant. Because of this effect it is a shape rising sharply in popularity. Around seven percent of all diamonds sold today are oval diamonds.
Pear shaped diamonds are unique and dazzling. The pear shaped diamond has been in existence since the 15th century. In 1475, the Flemish cutter Lodewyk van Bercken invented the scaif, a polishing wheel that allowed cutters to create absolute symmetry when placing facets into a diamond. This invention revolutionized the world of diamonds and also allowed Bercken to create the world’s first pear shaped diamond.
This diamond shape gets its name from, you guessed it, its resemblance to the pear fruit. For the same reason, pear shaped diamonds are colloquially known as teardrops. Today’s pear shaped diamonds feature a combination of the brilliant facets used in their oval and marquise counterparts, giving them beautiful brilliance. Around three percent of all those who buy diamonds select this distinctive shape.
The Asscher cut was the first diamond shape to ever be patented. The Asscher cut diamond is square with cut corners and is crafted with step cuts in an intricate arrangement that creates an “x” pattern beneath its table.
This shape was named for Joseph Asscher, a member of the family responsible for cutting the Cullinan diamond. The largest rough diamond ever found at 3,106 carats. It’s rough birthed many of the diamonds that remain in Great Britain’s Crown Jewels to this day.
According to legend, the marquise diamond was created by King Louis XIV, a French king known for his extravagance. Legend says that the king asked his royal jewelers to create a diamond that embodied the radiant smile of the Marquise de Pompadour, his mistress. Thus, the marquise diamond was born.
Marquise diamonds are slim and incredibly striking. They’re also quite brilliant for such a sleek shape, as their facets are designed to maximize scintillation. Marquise diamonds are a unique and rare making up less than one percent of all diamonds today.
Heart shaped diamonds may seem like a modern invention but they’re actually quite old. The first record of heart shaped diamonds was in conversation between the infamous Duke of Milan and Nicodemo in 1463. Historically, heart shaped diamonds were challenging to create, as such they usually adorned only royalty. These diamonds were often exchanged as symbols of good will and friendship, as was the one Mary Queen of Scots sent to Queen Elizabeth in 1562.
Today, heart shaped diamonds are widely associated with the most romantic day of the year. I mean… chocolates and flowers are nice but who wouldn’t want a diamond for Valentine’s Day!